Prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death
in Europe and the USA, exceeded only by heart disease and cancer.
Readers encounter the above-quoted assertion on page 1 of this book, following Forewords vouching for the trustworthiness of the book and its author; those Forewords are by former editors of the British Medical Journal and JAMA (previously Journal of the American Medical Association).
The pharmaceutical industry, "Big Pharma," is directly and also indirectly responsible for this unacceptable death rate. The industry's behavior, fully documented here, is shown to mirror that of organized crime in pursuing its own profits without regard for anything else, including the illness and death of its customers. Another apt comparison is with the tobacco industry.
Peter Gøtzsche is Director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, an arm of the Cochrane Collaboration, "an international network of individuals and institutions committed to preparing, maintaining, and disseminating systematic reviews of the effects of health care" (Nordic Cochrane Center). He knows whereof he speaks, and he doesn't hesitate to speak plainly and incisively-for which he is actively detested and harassed by Big Pharma and by non-boatrocking fellow members of the medical profession and associated institutions.
This is a very angry book. Everyone should read it, and every reader ought to become as angry as the author. Copious documentation illustrates that drug companies routinely suppress unfavorable data and knowingly market drugs that are ineffective and toxic. Regulators in both Europe and the USA abet those crimes instead of acting to safeguard public health. Justice Departments in both regions allow drug companies to settle criminal suits without acknowledging guilt, without any individuals being held responsible, paying fines that are trivial compared with their profits from the drugs that they market illegally-so that they continue with the same illegal practices, the fines being just a small part of the cost of doing business. Other costs include the buying or bribing of politicians, academics, practicing physicians, medical journals, professional associations, and fake patients' associations. All of those constitute interests that are vested in the present-day systemic criminality associated with prescription drugs.
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